“Once again we must confront a powerful blow from nature,” President Michelle Bachelet said in an address to the nation late Wednesday.
The epicenter of the 8,3-magnitude quake, followed by one aftershock of 7 and four of 6, was located near the town of Illapel. The aftershocks were also felt strongly in the capital of Chile Santiago.
Following the earthquake a tsunami warning was issued for the entire coastline of the country.
The Chilean authorities reported five people killed and one listed as missing in the quake early on Thursday.
President Michelle Bachelet urged people who evacuated from coastal areas of the country to stay on high ground until authorities could fully evaluate the situation during the night. Officials said schools would be kept closed in most of the country on Thursday.
In February 2010, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami killing over 600 people and damaging nearly 1,5 million houses in Chile.